Rain plans. It’s a phrase that no bride wants to talk about, but it does occasionally happen and it’s good to be prepared. How about lightning plans? You’d think it’s the same plan but occasionally you have a situation where an impending storm makes you rethink your strategies. I hadn’t thought about it either until literally 48 hours before Sandra’s and Matt’s big day they found out that the weather was going to force a pretty big change. They were changing their entire venue…only one of the biggest decisions you make (other than wedding photographer…clearly!)….with less than two days to spare. Invitations already sent. Directions distributed. Flowers, cake, food…everything going in a different direction that had been planned for months.
If you’re a bride that’s in the midst of planning her wedding you may have just passed out at the thought. Did Sandra and Matt? Nope. Not even a little. Now, this is the part where I tell you that having an exceptional wedding planner and coordinator is worth its weight in corsages and center pieces. Adam Donovan-Groves of Donovan-Groves Events was amazing. He coordinated the entire change with as little disruption to the day as possible. Masterful job, Adam. Truly.
So, instead of frantic faces and worried expressions, instead of blown timelines and missed opportunities, you have an entire wedding day that happened exactly how it was supposed to happen with a simple last minute address change. So, you can now focus on the beautiful little touches that filled the day. Check out that Viewfinder loaded with relationship memories that Matt gave to Sandra before the ceremony. Check out that reveal in the bridal suite at The Lodge at Mt. Ida. All told, a remarkable wedding day.
We often list our wedding colleagues, the “vendor team” as a recognition of their hard work and dedication to making a great wedding day, but this time it’s truly a remarkable list. Everyone involved rerouted everything to make this day happen for Sandra and Matt. Thank you to, of course, Adam Donovan-Groves and team, Milicent and staff at The Lodge at Mt. Ida, A Pimento Catering, MS Events, Nature Composed, Six Stylez Band with Sam Hill Entertainment, Favorite Cakes, and Anne Kibler.
Have I mentioned how much I love being a wedding photographer? Yeah. I have. You know I have. And if you’ve been reading my blog you know why. People. Lots and lots of people. Weddings are about people, defined by the people who are involved and who are invited to attend. When I first got started in photography it was my dream to be a street photographer like the famous Magnum group members or an editorial photographer like the insanely talented NatGeo staff. And I’d say a good 90% of my early film days were spent with a camera around my neck, wandering this town or that city, trying desperately to catch those “decisive moments” that I knew were happening all around me. I had no idea that I’d be using all that practice to capture weddings and couples. None. In fact it wasn’t until my friend Todd Smith, whom I met first as my own wedding photographer, encouraged me to try it that it even became a possibility for me.
But here I am 13 years later, having spent countless hours surrounded by happy, smiling faces. Even in the midst of the hot, full wedding season I find it really hard to feel burdened by the work. You see, I took wedding photography on as a cause quite some time ago. That cause was to create the best, most illustrative and enduring images that I possibly could. I didn’t want to just make a pretty picture and walk away. I wanted my photographs to define the day for my couples and their families. If my best work at any wedding looked like any generic magazine cover then I’d failed. So it was and still is my mission to be better than what’s expected. And the more weddings I was invited to photograph, the more I wanted to.
So, how does this relate to Euridice and Andrew? Look through their images and tell me you don’t smile when she smiles, reflexively and then openly. When I tell you that the picture of the beautiful woman in the picture frame is of Euridice’s recently passed mother, look again at the images of her and her father throughout the day and tell me you can’t feel their expressions as if they’re your own. Look at Andrew’s face as he quite obviously loves and admires Euridice, how he holds her and tell me you don’t root for their lifelong happiness. So yeah, I love my job.
Be ready for anything. Stay flexible. Keep smiling. Those should be some of the first things you learn when you start out as a wedding photographer. You can have the best plans in the whole wide world, but when it comes down to the wedding day you still have to be prepared. Why do I mention this? Because after all the lovely planning I did with Annie and Lynn in preparation for the wedding day, we had a nasty looking storm headed our way and it looked like it meant to stick around. And, when you’ve chosen a family home in the beautiful Virginia countryside to hold your (mostly) outdoor event, a nasty looking storm is definitely not what you had in mind. So what do you do?
A rain plan is always great to have and they did have one. But something else I learned about weddings quite some time ago and it is truly the reason I love each and every one – weddings can be many things and happen on many types of days and in any number of locations, but the most important thing about them are the people. As long as we had these two amazing families and this great couple, we could have held the entire event in the root cellar and it would have been a great time. As luck would have it, we didn’t need the root cellar. The skies cleared up just after the ceremony to reveal a stunning afternoon and evening.
That is why we spend far more time than most in finding each and every interaction, expression, and heartfelt moment that we can. It’s why our blog and our website is filled with faces rather than tablecloths and shoes. Don’t get us wrong, we love the details. You’ll find some incredible ones throughout our work (see just below 🙂 ) and they are worth remembering, just like the portraits. But I’d trade all of them for that hug that Annie gives her father on the dance floor after his welcome speech, or Drew’s face when he unwraps the painted portrait he and Annie received as a wedding gift. And I’m going to assume since you’re here and still reading, that you agree 🙂
It’s true that one of the best things about being a wedding photographer is that you get to be around happy people on one of the most memorable days of their lives. You look forward to each and every weekend, no matter if it’s a venue you’ve seen a dozen times or it’s brand new to you, because the people and the personalities are always new. What’s also true is that sometimes you get that little extra from a couple, that certain something that makes a great day even better. Amanda and Adam, besides being two of the more laid-back and easy going couples I’ve had the privilege to work with, are very talented musicians. Me, being a tremendous fan of music and local musicians, was thrilled that their guest list was filled with people that I’d seen play many times. I also knew that it’d be one heck of a party.
So we were treated to Amanda and Adam playing their instruments, on stage, in their wedding clothes. There were LED hula hoops, and crazy dance floor props (unicorns and riding brooms?), and also one of our all-time favorite wedding musicians, Adrian Duke. So yeah, it was a great day.
Special thanks to Emmett Hickam of Richmond Bridal Consulting for all his wonderful support and coordination. A complete list of the great team of vendors is below.
Driving down the long winding paths to the homes in Charles City it’s easy to get lost in the charm and history. When we finally arrived at this beautiful home on the James River, we definitely got lost in the intimate feel of this private estate. Stables, farms, an old plantation home, a beautiful view of Virginia’s most famous waterway…being wedding photographers certainly affords you the chance to soak in so many wonderful locations.
But the power of a wedding day isn’t in the backdrop, however lovely. It’s in the people – the interactions and the expressions – that are unique to each couple and all the people gathered around them. And this is where we think you’ll see why we were so excited to be with Edith and Eric. There was never a time when we didn’t feel a genuine expression of who they were as individuals and as a couple.
And we want to give a special thanks to the lovely ladies at Glint Events for their coordination and support. Always a pleasure, Kate and staff! Enjoy the images.
It seems only fitting that this classically beautiful pair should tie the knot at one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Richmond (or anywhere else for that matter) and have an equally sophisticated and timeless party for their nearest and dearest at the always-exquisite Jefferson Hotel.
Marie and Brad have an easy comfort with each other that, naturally, made our job all the more enjoyable as we spent the day witnessing their love for one another, and the joy of the family and friends that surrounded them. And CCS Events was there to be sure that all the bride and groom had to do was soak it in.
At the heart of this collection lie moments of candid beauty, stolen glances, and expressions of pure joy. Take a moment with these images won’t you? You won’t regret it.
Nikki and Tripp planned a beautiful affair for their family and friends to enjoy that simply embodied their home town of Richmond, Virginia. There were many moments to be admired during their celebration, but we might be a little partial to a certain staircase photograph that you’ll see below that just might be one of our favorites, ever. But perhaps we should let you decide.
Thank you to the Jefferson Hotel which provided not only the gorgeous backdrop for the wedding reception, but also the great food, cake and flowers. The talented stylists at Avenue 42 dolled up the bridal party, while Blue Steel Lighting Design created a lovely atmosphere and Eric Cunningham provided great tunes for the party.
It means more than you can imagine when we get to develop a relationship with a family over the years as their life changes, their children grow, and they experience all of the happy milestones that life brings. Marla’s family is one of those whom we have photographed many times, nearly from the beginning of our careers as photographers. And as you might guess, we were beyond thrilled that when the time came for their first family wedding, we were the people they chose to capture another chapter of their family history.
This wedding is filled to the brim with love, emotion, and some of the sweetest, most delicate details that are the very definition of classically beautiful. Dover Hall Estate was the perfect backdrop for the many rich traditions that were shared by Marla and Josh with so many of their family and friends there to witness and share their joy.
We love all of the gorgeous wedding inspiration that the ladies over at Tidewater and Tulle share on the regular – if you’ve never visited their blog it’s definitely one to check out! We are thrilled that our recent collaboration with Fete Weddings was featured there. Click over to this link for all of the details:
A peek at some of the fabulous ideas this inspiration shoot incorporates:
Many couples find themselves wishing for more time and space to focus on one another and only their nearest and dearest, and holding a smaller ceremony is one way to do just that. Kate and Justin held a beautiful, intimate wedding ceremony in early spring in the timelessly beautiful courtyard of the Commonwealth Club. With only their closest family and friends in attendance, the excitement of the day was focused on one big thing – their love for one another. The opportunities for capturing true emotion are so rich during these special gatherings and it makes being part of them one of our favorite things.
BUT never fear party lovers – these two also have plans to throw a fabulous party in celebration of their marriage, getting the best of both worlds! We can’t wait to be there with them once again later this spring for “part 2” of their celebration. Until then, here is a peek at their wedding day.